Wales name strong women's sevens squad

Gemma Rowland returns for Wales after injury
Gemma Rowland returns for Wales after injury

Wales Women have named a 21-strong sevens training squad ahead of the Rugby Europe series which starts on 29 June in Paris, France.

The second Rugby Europe tournament is on 20 July in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Wales need to finish in the top eight overall to qualify for the World Series qualifying tournament next April.

Gemma Rowland and Dyddgu Hywel return after injury to a squad including 13 full internationals, including four who played at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Alisha Butchers, Gemma Rowland, Jasmine Joyce and Hannah Jones represented Wales Sevens on the Gold Coast in Australia.

There is also plenty of emerging talent with five players - Celyn Lazenby, Ellie Morgan, Megan Webb, Caitlin Lewis and Hannah Powell - who impressed during the recent Wales Women Emerging programme, plus former youth tennis international Rebekah O'Loughlin who came through the Cardiff Blues' regional programme this season.

Wing or centre Courtney Keight was invited to join the squad after a great season with Swansea University and standing out for her club Swansea in the recent Super Cup final against Pontyclun Falcons at Principality Stadium.

The squad will take part in a training camp in Scotland this weekend, which will include conditioned matches against Scotland.

A Wales Select side will participate in the Amsterdam Sevens and Madrid Sevens in early June ahead of the first Rugby Europe tournament in Paris.

WRU community director Geraint John said: "We have a fantastic opportunity here to not only qualify for the World Series qualifier, but develop a group of players for the sevens and 15-a-side game and upskill a number of coaches and support staff.

Wales Sevens training squad:

Alex Callender*, Alisha Butchers*, Bethan Lewis*, Bethan Davies, Courtney Keight, Dyddgu Hywel*, Gemma Rowland*, Gwen Crabb*, Hannah Jones*, Jasmine Joyce*, Jess Kavanagh*, Keira Bevan*, Lauren Smyth*, Lisa Neumann*, Lleucu George*, Rebekah O'Loughlin, Celyn Lazenby, Ellie Morgan, Megan Webb, Caitlin Lewis, Hannah Powell.

*Full Wales Women international

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